Howard Iron Works is now restoring its newly acquired C Potter Jr. newspaper press, first manufactured in 1866 – one year before the formation of Canada. Meanwhile, Howard Graphic Equipment sees a spike in worldwide modern press sales.
Rare vintage presses are a lifelong passion for Nick and Liana Howard, who founded Howard Iron Works (HIW) in December 2013, but they remain intently focused on the sale of refurbished modern printing presses through Howard Graphic Equipment (HGE) Ltd., founded in 1967.
The Howards explain HGE experienced one of its busiest months this June, receiving four U.S.-based orders for offset printing presses, including: A 6-colour Komori S640 plus coater and inter-deck UV drying; 10-colour S1040P plus coater; a pre-owned Komori G540 plus coater; and a 5-colour S540 plus coater. HGE explains the G540 is the world’s first pre-owned “G” series sold on the secondary market.
HGE's recent busy period also includes overseas sales of a Heidelberg CD 102-6+LX2, both a 5-colour and a 6-colour Komori NL28 plus coater, as well as a 5-colour S540 plus coater, two Lithrone 640 presses, and a 6-colour Mitsubishi 640.
HGE has now provided refurbished printing equipment to a customer base spread across 72 countries.
It was a barn in Southern Illinois, however, where Nick and Liana Howard found the newest gem for Howard Iron Works, which restores decades and sometimes centuries-old printing equipment. To help support this passion, HIW provides leasing and sales from within its large collection of rare printing machines, which includes a range of iron presses, cylinders, platens and bindery equipment.
The single revolution C Potter Jr. press had been sitting in an Illinois barn for the past 30 years. This very rare newspaper press, operated by hand, is rusty and missing parts, but Nick Howard expects its fluted columns "to look stunning" once fully restored, a process undertaken by the company’s highly skilled technicians.
It will be a challenging restoration, however, because Howard traditionally aims to restore equipment just as it would have been when leaving the original factories. Despite his immense volumes of books and reference materials, Howard so far can only find a single illustration of the C Potter Jr. press. Potter, he explains, also made the first rotary offset press, which was technology eventually acquired by Harris.